No Longer Beaches

We’re so diverse, has anyone considered just how many people come here for reasons “Not the Beach”?

7 quick reasons to live or visit Amelia Island….

  1. The environmental areas are amazing with trees sometimes well over 100 years in age.
  2. Fishing excursions and boating make this a great place to live.  Ramps very near ocean access mean a lot.
  3. Bikes enjoy runs to the historic district, including the oldest watering hole in the state.
  4. The farmer’s market is fun on the weekend. ¬† Live music and lots of local food.
  5. Exceptional architecture and renovations of historic buildings mean something new, even if you come here every year or live in the area.
  6. Jobs bring people.  The diverse economy is as important as tourism.
  7. Don’t forget the Cuban coffee! ¬† I like coffee, but Hola on North 2nd is my favorite stop.

…but then, we do have really great beaches.

Age of Your Live Oak Tree

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Live oaks on Amelia Island are some of the most resilient local inhabitants. ¬†Unlike the water oak, they tend to live longer and weather storms. ¬† Considering the age of a tree, I‚Äôd like to estimate the age of a tree with a 72‚ÄĚ diameter, using the formula below. ¬† Typically, the diameter is calculated by measuring the circumference at 4 to 5 feet above the ground and using that number to calculate a diameter. ¬†¬†

 

How to Age a Live Oak Tree | Hunker:

The first 10 inches in diameter indicate an age of 76 years. Each inch after that adds six-and-a-half years up to age 154. After that, each inch adds six years.

72 Total Inches

First 10 inches  Р76 years

Then, the next 12 inches‚Ķ takes us to 154 years. ¬† After that‚ĶI‚Äôm guessing 22 inches in diameter, we still need to account for the last 50 inches at 6 years per inch. ¬† ¬†(50×6)+154= 454 years. ¬†That can‚Äôt be right! ¬† Let‚Äôs compare the ‚ÄúTreaty Oak‚ÄĚ age estimate in Jacksonville. ¬†Apparently, the Treaty Oak‚Äôs estimated age is 250 years, with around 95 inches in diameter and a 25‚Äô circumference. ¬† If I use this number, a 72 inch oak in Fernandina might be closer to 190 years in age. ¬†There is variation in growth rate, depending on location, water, surrounding vegetation, but seeing a tree like this as 150 to 200 years in age is reasonable. ¬† These trees could have been saplings when¬†Louis-Michel Aury was on the island in 1817. ¬†¬†

IMG 0881Regardless, big oaks are old and should be protected.  I’d love to think the big oaks I grew up with might be around for another 200 years, but the island is changing.   Looking for creative ways to develop property can preserve trees and homeowners are beginning to see the value of this preservation.    Depending on the configuration of a site, sometimes losing lots can be offset by the premium for larger lots and reduced cost for infrastructure.  

Bakeries, Breweries, Restaurants…Music, Apartments and Collision Density

I can’t stop thinking of collision density and changes to more urban areas, like Fernandina’s Historic District.  When you see a small downtown area add a variety of uses or change zoning to encourage mixed use, in my opinion, there is a potential for adding value.  Density aside, adding density to a property with existing structures can be a way to encourage redevelopment.  In an older are, protected by historic guidelines, any remodel can be an unknown and expensive undertaking.  Allowing more possibilities can make preservation and utilization of a space more feasible.   Think about a second floor with zoning allowing office, retail or restaurant uses.   The space, if used as an office, might allow 20 desks. Each desk could represent an employee and each employee might need a parking space.  That same area, if used for apartment spaces, might only convert to 2 or 3 apartments.  Each apartment might represent 1 to 2 cars.  Lets be generous and call it a total of 6 vehicles.  The times parking might be in demand, assuming these apartments are long term rentals or homes, would probably be after the 9 to 5 typical business day. So, two things happen.  We create differe nt uses, with the potential to add value to existing business and add value to residential uses, often in high demand near a downtown commercial district.  We also find added parking by changing the times a developed use might require space.  Finally, we encourage preservation by offering a path toward choice.  Limiting choices in the use of a historic property can actually make it more difficult to find buyers willing to invest in the preservation.  Historic guidelines set limits, but too strictly limiting the kinds of use can sometimes turn away an owner willing to invest.   Given, I’m thinking of buyers with an interest in living space or short term rental, but I’ve also watched buyer interest in older buildings shift to conversion of upstairs commercial space into residential space.

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122 South 8th Street is in the middle of a changing part of 8th Street.   Looking at surrounding property, consider the dramatic changes at the old Fred’s location when Buy-Go opened.  Now, less than a block away, we’re probably going to see a true mixed use of the site with a healthy mix of residential and commercial uses.  David’s recently reopened as the 801 Kitchen and T-Rays Burger Station has been poplar for as long as I can remember.  Changing the density allowed in C-3 zoning and the overlay district leading toward downtown, MU8, I believe, should add to the changes happening in this previously overlooked, but transitioning area.

The old Pecan Roll is also zoned C-3 and has the potential for office, retail, food sales and even residential use as a part of the site. ¬†In walking distance to Center Street, the demand for walkable space is high. ¬†Offices, residential, retail or food is all possible and the ‚Äújust reduced‚ÄĚ price of $399,000, ¬†is attracting interest. ¬† ¬†Thinking of the lot size, 100‚Äôx100‚Äô, similar lots only blocks away are often 2-3 times this number.

See the current MLS information here.  

Rayonier Advanced Materials and Long Island History

IMG 0692Driving to the office earlier, I took the shortcut, passing Rayonier’s plant on the way.   The operation is almost invisible on the main roadways, other than the visible logging trucks turning down Gum Street, but this place is always on my mind.  In 1939, Ed Boner, Sr., came to Fernandina from the Grays Harbor location.   I grew up hearing stories about lines for jobs and chlorine leaks.  Mom would take me to drop off meals a the guard house, when Dad left his lunch on the counter.   All the diversity we have on the island and stability, in my opinion, are possible because the local mills provided jobs, when there were few jobs.  Shrimping, once a significant part of the local economy, is still important, but now more a part of the local history, not a major economic driver.  

Rayonier has been the biggest influence on Fernandina and on our county for decades.  In many ways, we are taking a last bite of development and seeing a best possible plan, because Rayonier owned the majority of land in Nassau County.  The luxury of being last and luxury of planned development will benefit Nassau County far more than most realize.  

 

 

 

NewImageHistory – Rayonier Advanced Materials:

1939 Rayonier completes construction on its first cellulose specialties plant in the Southeast in Fernandina Beach, Florida

Careful on Alachua!

One of the busier streets on the weekend, especially during the farmer’s market, Alachua Street is undergoing repairs to a swale and correction of a drainage issue (?) near 8th. The eroding bank appears to be reaching the stop sign, if you notice the lean.

History Online, Cemeteries and Spanish

Looking for interesting content tonight, I found something mentioning a public use for lots based on Spanish plans for Fernandina. ¬† I’m assuming this meant “Old Town”, but I’m now curious. ¬†The plat below is of Old Town and not a bad way to learn something the average visitor or local often overlooks.

On one trip to the local cemetery with my sons, we took the time to look up the history for a name on a headstone.  Highly under-rated, taking your children to the older section of the local cemetery leads to an education in itself.  I think we need to remember our history and think of it as real, but it has a way of making preservation and history a little more real.   and, if interested in a trip to Bosca Bello, the older section of the cemetery is deteriorated in places, but rich in history.

Highly recommended….The Amelia Island Genealogical Society http://www.aigensoc.org/¬†has an online data base of cemetery records and obituaries, as well as a wealth of local¬†information.

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Both images above are snips and available from a variety of sources online. ¬†I believe both are public, but my searches included American Memory, the Library of Congress, our own Nassau County Clerk’s website, Wikipedia and Google.

SpaceX and Implications for Nassau?

Considering the SpaceX launch this afternoon, I wonder how many of us are aware of the spaceport location only a short distance to the north. ¬† Camden Spaceport is an hour by car, but only about 20 miles by air. ¬†If you want a diverse economic base, Crawford Diamond’s potential and the spaceport make our location even more attractive, as if that were possible.rocket-launch-space-discovery

The proposed Camden Spaceport site is located on the I-95 corridor next to the Atlantic Ocean¬†and is surrounded by a large undeveloped¬†buffer zone.¬†Coastal Camden County, Georgia provides a nearly unrestricted launch range¬†for the launch of spacecraft to a wide range of orbits.¬†Orbital inclinations between 31¬į and 58¬į can be reached without the addition of costly propulsive maneuvers to change the orbital plane.

In addition, our southerly location and favorable launch azimuth enable more payload to orbit from Camden County. These launches have the capability to fly due east, maximizing the velocity boost from the rotation of the Earth and enabling more payload to reach orbit.

We are also home to a former rocket testing facility that is ideal for space vehicle manufacturing and we can provide ready access to existing space launch sites in both Virginia and Florida.  www.spaceportcamden.us 2/3/18

Beach Driving….Why reduce access?

I grew up on the island and, at one time, I could drive the beaches from end to end.  Surfing and fishing was far different and beach access meant I could access the public beaches easily with fishing gear, cooler, car and friends in the car with me.  Over time, the island became more crowded and driving the entire beach became a safety concern.

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While I understand the changes will probably never allow unrestricted driving, the unwritten “DEAL” or the “UNDERSTANDING” with locals and advocates for beach access, including many locals with a very long history on the island like Lowell Hall, was to stay away from further reduction of access to the beach. ¬† On Tuesday, the tiny area remaining in the city may be cut in half and, if you read the proposal, a number of restrictions may be added, including a “study” required to demonstrate need if the area is ever increased, special training and a permit?

SYNOPSIS: Parking on the beach has been permitted at the Sadler Road public access since the City Commission approved an “on-beach” parking area south of the north right-of-way line of Sadler Road to a point 600 feet south in the late 1980’s.

The City Commission wants to discuss reducing the parking area on the beach at Sadler Road from 600 feet to 300 feet which would put the terminus of this parking area at the southern property boundary line of Seaside Park if the Ordinance passes.

Source: www.fbfl.us Agenda 2/6/18

Read the Proposed Ordinance

While I understand both sides, I disagree with further reducing the area or access in any way.  I also feel anyone with a Nassau County tag should be able to access the areas without permit or any proposed special beach driving training, given available remaining space.  Living in Florida my entire life, being trained for driving on the beach is somewhat absurd, in my opinion.   I would hope, if training is proposed, the training is optional with a signature noting it was declined.

Paradise is changing and I find the repeated return to elimination of or reduction of beach access painful!  Living on the island for the past 54 years and a native, I think I have a right to a strong opinion and the right to feel a little offended.

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1981 Beach Control….Drive only south from Sadler

FISA and the “MEMO” …Very Divided Opinions

I posted a very brief status update on Facebook yesterday, noting my sadness at the allegations in the, now famous, FISA Memo. ¬† This morning, “MANY” more comments than I anticipated waited. ¬†My friends are polarized and I’ve even received messages encouraging me to change to another television station for my news. ¬† Two issues strike me with both the memo and the way my friends or public generally see the issue. ¬† The memo contains serious allegations and, if true, shows a serious flaw in our justice system. ¬†If you think about it, the memo is concerning, whether it is entirely factual or not. ¬†The cover letter included in the PDF linked below is actually quite helpful. ¬† Understanding the information used as a basis for the memo is classified and understanding any POTUS would be forced to choose to release or declassify is worth considering.

Fernandina Beach and Nassau County political leaders are subject to Sunshine Law.  The higher you go, the less sunshine, hence the need to formally release a memo discussing information only viewed by a committee.   I would encourage everyone to read the memo and cover letter before forming an opinion.  If FISA warrants were issued and renewed based on flawed information, we should be concerned.  If the memo has a partisan motivation, then we should also be concerned.  Personally, I just want the truth and want to know if our system is being used politically.    Thoughts?

Read-the-FISA-memo copy

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Core Issue…FISA Warrants allegedly obtained based on falsified partisan research.